Managing Your Wedding Budget

The Budget

Your Budget Consists of:

Ceremony 3%
Reception 48%
Attire 10%
Rings 3%
Flowers 8%
Music 8%
Photography 12%
Transportation 2%
Stationary 3%
Gifts 3%

Who Pays For What

Traditional Responsibilities:

The bride’s family pays for:
– Reception costs, including food, music, decorations, rental fees and entertainment
– Ceremony Costs including rental fees, decorations
– Flowers for Ceremony and Reception
– The bride’s wedding dress and accessories
– Invitations, announcements, programs, and mailing costs
– Favors
– Photography
– Transportation
– Their own attire and travel expenses

The groom’s family pays for:
– The rehearsal dinner, including food, invitations, decorations and entertainment
– Their own attire and travel expenses
– A wedding present

The bride pays for:
– The groom’s wedding ring
– A wedding gift for the groom
– Her hair, makeup, beauty treatments
– Gifts for her attendants
– Sometimes accommodation for any out-of-town bridesmaids

The groom pays for:
– The marriage license
– The bride’s engagement ring and wedding ring
– The honeymoon
– A wedding gift for the bride
– The bride’s bouquet
– Gifts for his attendants
– Corsages for the mothers and grandmothers
– Boutonnières for men in the wedding party
– Sometimes accommodation for any out-of-town groomsmen
– Fee for the officiant

A modern take on who pays for what at a wedding:

After announcing their engagement, the bride and groom sit down and estimate what they’ll spend on the wedding, probably after finding a reception site and making general decisions about theme, style, time of day etc. They then approach their parents and after describing what they’ve decided on so far, say gently, “We were wondering if you would be able to pitch in for any of the costs.” The parents may look at the budget and say, “We’d like to pay for the reception food and the flowers” for example. They may also offer a set amount they’ll contribute. If their parents say they can’t afford to contribute, or only offer a small amount, the bride and groom say, “Thank you for considering,” and perhaps have to revise their budget or find creative ways to pay for the wedding.

Alternative Plan:

In this scenario, the bride’s family, the groom’s family, and the bride and groom themselves each pay for one third of the budget. Typically, this means they will also each invite one third of the guests.

How Much Do You Really Need?

Depending on your area, budgeting about $100 per wedding guest will give you a good start. This allows for $50 a head for catering, and the remaining $50 goes towards everything else – flowers, attire, etc. Of course, if you are only having 10 guests, you may have trouble paying for everything else with only $500, but it is a good starting point. This starting point fits with the general rule of the more guests, the more formal and lavish the wedding. It is also certainly possible to throw a wedding on a shoestring budget.

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